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deponti to the world

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Ear-Piercing...the procedure, or the cries?
I am up against another instance where I have to examine afresh something that I have taken for granted, and not thought much about at all.

This is the practice of piercing the earlobes of babies when they turn one. This is something that has been routinely done for generations, I suppose...but even this practice has undergone a change over time. In the past (well, 50 or 60 years ago), all one-year-olds had their earlobes pierced, regardless of gender. How well I remember the wealthy Brahmin gentlemen wearing "kadukkan"...solitare diamond ear-rings, along with their "kudumi" (hair-tufts)! In an one 8-mm cine recording of my aunt's wedding (I think it was in 1958), G N Balasubrmaniam, aka GNB, is giving a concert at the reception, and his "kadukkan" glints in the gaslights of the shamiana.

In more recent times, the practice of piercing the earlobes of boy children has more or less been given up, but it's practically mandatory for girl children still.

For girls, of course, a few years ago, fashion dictated that the ears be pierced at intervals up the side of the pinna....and each pierced hole decorated with a gold (or diamond, if affordable) ear-stud!

See this young woman's ear:

ear piercings 080710

Here's a

guide to every kind of ear-piercing !

I am aware that in the US, at least, parents used to regard ear-piercing with much misgiving, and worried very much if their children decide to get it done! I don't know how much things have changed now.

However, in the Western world, a pierced earlobe is quite a fashion statement for men, who pierce a single earlobe. And fashion is not the only thing it's a statement of. I heard the mnemonic, "Left is right, and right is wrong", to understand if a man was gay or not, depending on which earlobe was pierced! Obviously, given the value judgement of "wrong" in that statement, this must have been coined long ago, before homosexuality came to be as accepted as it is in the US.

When KTB's first birthday came up, so did the question of ear-piercing, and we realized that there are two ways to do it...the traditional way being to call in a jeweller, who brings along thin gold wires, sharpened at one end, which is what is pierced into the ear, and quickly and expertly twisted in a small ring, and then the extra length is cut off.

The second way is to use a

piercing instrument or gun

which is supposed to be painless...but as that link mentions, it's not infection-proof....

Yesterday I brought the local jeweller home, but DnA did not realize that he would not have one of these guns; also, they were not comfortable with an ear-ring rather than a stud, which, they felt, KTB might pull on and hurt herself. So the ear-piercing programme was cancelled or perhaps postponed.

I had, some years ago, seen a funny notice as I walked, and posted

a photograph of an ad for painless ear-piercing

... wondering if the screams the children let out during this procedure would also be ear-piercing! This was, of course, long before I had to face this issue myself....

We have 4 days left, and I am wondering what to do...if any of you have any ideas for KTB, do let me know; we need a little time for her earlobes to heal, too, before they all leave on Saturday night.

And then, there's the whole "mudi irukkam" deal, where the baby's locks are shorn either before the first birthday, or after the second....luckily for me, DnA don't seem to want to do this for KTB, and there's not enough time for it, either..... wonder what it would feel like to see those silken kiss-curls lying on the ground!

Which silken curls?


silken curls 060710

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I'm against piercing altogether unless and until it has a medical necessity. We are no way eligible to decide about altering the babies body in what so ever way. The person undergoing piercing should be mature enough to think for themselves if they want a hole punched through ear lobes. It might be a small insignificant hole but we do not have any rights to decide on babies behalf.


Well....you have a valid point...it's tradition vs. thinking for oneself....DnA decided against shearing of the hair, but A wants the ear-piercing done if possible...let's see :)

I won't be very unhappy if KTB doesn't have her ears pierced...but I *would* be unhappy if they had to get it done in the US, especially if, God forbid, she developed an infection.

I MUST get rid of this feeling of responsibility. She's NOT my baby...a few days will put a few thousand miles between us, for a long period of time.

>> but it's practically mandatory for girl children still

I cant help wondering, deponti... who decides that its mandatory?

Oh..elders in a family, and intense social pressure, both of which we don't have, thank goodness! But I must say that no less than seven people made it their business to ask me when she would have her ears pierced! The extent to which friends are invested in the minutiae of our daily lives....

(Deleted comment)
Valid question...I *don't* think she would be more likely to develop an infection if it was done in the US...probably *less* likely. But...it's just that here, the parents are free for the last two days, the grandparents are also around...IF some infection did develop in the US, either, or both parents would have to take vacation (that they've almost exhausted for the India trip) to deal with it. And here, all 4 of us are around to comfort her through the day, too...there, she would be in daycare.

That's the only reason why we want it done (if possible) here before she leaves.

We are not bothered that she should have it done with the Ayushya hOmam or anything like that.

Echoing Ravi's question :
Why do you believe she'd be more likely to develop an infection if pierced in the US?

I had my nose pierced in India and the healing took forever i eventually let it close - but then i had my ears and nose pierced in the US and it wasn't a problem at all. Even if you were to find a "safe" person in India to pierce her ears wouldn't it be a little too much to expect it to heal in 3 days? Wouldn't it be easier for them to pierce her ears in the US when she does have time to heal and (in my personal opinion) a much sterile and relatively painless option .

See my reply to Ravi...it's just that the parents are already on vacation here, and the grandparents are also around, and we are free to comfort her through the day....IF something develops in the US, the parents will have to take scarce vacation days, and she might be in daycare and crying....

I would think girls (or should I say people) would enjoy wearing (pierced) earrings when they are older and if it is done when they are babies, they won't remember the trauma of having their ears pierced:-)

how about getting a doctor to do it with aseptic precautions? much cheaper to consult in Bangalore rather than in the US of A.

I'd tend to agree with you that the trauma won't be remembered later....it's like teaching a baby to swim....am making an effort for tomorrow, let's see....!

Well..my mother wants my son's ear pierced, but my son's mother doesn't want to...have left them to fight it out...but I know my mother is fighting a losing battle...

Wise guy ...its something m husband would do - let me fight it out with his mom ... :-)

Tough battle....would like to know what happens.

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